(Refiles to fix typo in second paragraph.)
WASHINGTON, July 21 Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko on Monday denied Russia's assertion that a Ukrainian
warplane was flying near the downed Malaysian airliner last
week, saying Ukrainian planes in the area were on the ground at
the time of the crash.
In response to Russian Defense Ministry's statement earlier
on Monday that a Ukrainian military plane flew within 3 to 5 km
of the Malaysian plane at the time it was downed, Poroshenko
told CNN: "My immediate reaction - this is not true."
He said Ukraine was open to any investigation about its
planes and that the Russians should provide evidence for such a
Poroshenko also said that at the time of the incident the
air space over eastern Ukraine was being monitored by various
"Everybody knows that in this period of time when the
tragedy happened all Ukrainian planes were on the ground (in the
area)," he told CNN in an interview.
According to a transcript of the interview posted on his
website, Poroshenko also aired the idea of asking the United
States to grant Ukraine a special status as a so-called Major
Non-NATO Ally, the same status now enjoyed by Israel, Egypt and
Any beefing up of ties between Kiev and Washington is all
but certain to upset Moscow, which sees the former Soviet bloc
as its special sphere of influence.
(Reporting by David Storey, additional reporting by Gabriela
Baczynska in Kiev,; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina
Chiacu, Larry King)